UNIDIR Expert Network on Governance of Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain

The need for robust artificial intelligence (AI) governance mechanisms in the military domain becomes paramount as AI technologies become increasingly integrated and incorporated into different systems and functions of the military. We recognize the expertise and insights that a diverse range of stakeholders – including governments, the private sector, civil society and technical communities – bring to the table when addressing AI governance and policy. This diversity of perspectives and expertise becomes even more important as we explore the complex and sensitive issue of AI in the military domain.

In addition to the technical complexity of these technologies, the specificity and sensitive nature of AI governance in the military domain raises unique questions and challenges. The societal and humanitarian implications of developing, deploying and using these technologies add further complexity. By putting inclusivity at the heart of its work – both substantively and in terms of equitable participation – the Institute is ultimately able to issue innovative, meaningful and practical recommendations and solutions that provide real value to a range of practitioners. The pilot edition of UNIDIR’s Women in AI Fellowship, which aims to impart useful and practicable knowledge around AI to women diplomats, and the Roundtable for AI, Security and Ethics (RAISE) exemplify our commitment in this direction.

Diplomats in Geneva reach agreement on a mandate for the Group of Governmental Experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems (© 2019, UNODA)

In this context, UNIDIR’s Expert Network on Governance of Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain is a collaborative effort, bringing together experts from academia, governments, international organizations and civil society, as well as technologists from the tech and defence industries. This initiative is not just about UNIDIR but also about the collective wisdom and insights of the international community. We leverage the diversity of perspectives offered by the Network to inform multilateral, regional and national processes surrounding the governance of AI in the military domain through unique, robust and evidence-based insights and recommendations.

The Network supports UNIDIR’s work in the following areas:

  • Analyzing the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of AI policies and action plans in the military domain at the national level
  • Assessing risks related to the use of AI in the context of international security, including in weapons- and non-weapons-related functions
  • Galvanizing data initiatives as part of the AI Policy Portal
  • Conducting strategic foresight on AI and related emerging technologies in cooperation with the UNIDIR Futures Lab